Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voiced concern over President Mohamed Morsy’s constitutional declaration. The MEPs discussed EU aid to Egypt, stressing that it has conditions attached but that cutting it all together was not an option.
The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs held a special debate on Monday, entitled “Situation in Egypt.”
Some MEPs proposed cutting aid to Egypt during the meeting. European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region, Bernardino Léon, stressed that “all EU aid to Egypt is subject to conditionality.” He added however that cutting aid entirely “is not an option.”
A statement released on Tuesday said “many MEPs expressed worries about the sweeping new powers that a recent presidential decree conferred on President Morsy.”
The committee vice-chair Andrey Kovatchev said, “there are serious concerns about the constitutional declaration… which goes against the democratic principles of checks and balances and the rule of law.” He added, “[the declaration] paralyses judicial control and converses unlimited powers to President Morsy.”
Léon said during the meeting, “in the last two weeks we have seen a deepening political divide.” He also described Morsy’s decree as a “mistake.”
He reported that he and other EU representatives have had “very close contact with the most important political actors; the presidency, the foreign ministry, important political parties and representatives from civil society groups.” He called for the creation of a consensus between “all political forces,” and an agreement to be reached with the judiciary “to avoid an institutional clash.”
Regarding Egypt’s draft constitution and the upcoming referendum, Léon highlighted the need to “put the drafting and referendum process back on the right path… and result in a constitution that enshrines human rights, equality and dignity for all.”
Léon referenced the EU-Egypt task force recently set up to enhance bi-lateral relations, saying it was “based on promotion of peace, stability, prosperity and the overarching values of respect for social justice.” Also included in the EU-Egypt taskforce fact sheet are five articles on human rights, governance and civil society.
“The answer at the moment is more Europe in Egypt, more involvement, more engagement and more work,” Léon concluded.
The meeting followed statements made by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, who accused Morsy of staging a coup.